We’ve talked a bit about California’s new tiered sex offender registry that will take effect in 2021, but there are also a lot of important details about SB-384 we didn’t know about at the time, including timetables and how the law will impact juvenile sex offenders. To that end, here are some specifics of how SB-384 will be implemented and how it will work once the law takes effect on June 1, 2021.
What is SB-384?
While this article covers the basics of the law in more detail, at its core, SB-384 is bill designed to dramatically change how California’s sex offender registry works. Whereas anyone convicted of a sex crime has traditionally been added to the sex offender registry for life, now they will be sorted into one of three tiers, which will determine how long they are left on the registry according to the severity of their crimes.
How Long Will People be Left on the Sex Offender Registry?
Offenders can be placed on the registry for 10 years, 20 years or life depending on what tier they have been placed in. Tier one requires a ten year registration period and applies to most misdemeanor sex offenses considered non-violent and non-serious such as consensual statutory rape with someone over 14. Tier two will include more serious offenses that are not the most serious, and tier three will be applied to all particularly serious or violent sex crimes such as rape.
Anyone with a prior conviction charged with a new offense will be placed in a higher tier and the clock for their removal from the new sex offender registry will start all over. If someone fails to register as a sex offender, they will have a year added to their sentence.
Juvenile Sex Offenders and SB-384
California’s new sex offender registry will also have two tiers for juvenile offenders. Those convicted of a sex crime in the juvenile court system will be subject to a mandatory registration period of either 5 or 10 years, again based on how serious the crime was.
What About Out-Of-State Offenders?
If a sex offender who moved to California was convicted of a charge that directly translates into a crime in California, they will be sorted into a tier according to the equivalent California charge. Most people who were convicted in other states when there are no direct equivalent criminal charge in California will be sorted into tier two. If an offender is no longer required to register in the state they were convicted in, they may still be required to register in California if they would still be under the mandatory minimum registration period for that crime were the convicted of the crime in California.
If a convicted sex offender from California moves to another state, they should check with a criminal defense lawyer to determine what laws they will be subject to in their new home and what requirements they must undergo in order to leave.
When SB-384 Takes Effect
The two most important dates when it comes to SB-384 are January 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021. On January 1, all current sex offenders will be noticed as to what tier they will be sorted into. If you disagree with your tier designation, you should speak to an attorney.
On July 1, those who have already served the minimum registration period for their tier designation can file a petition in court to be removed from the sex offender registry. A sex crime defense lawyer can help file these petitions to ensure they are done properly. The court may choose to either approve or deny a petition based on the specifics of the crime. If a petition is denied, the denial will state how long the applicant must wait before petitioning for removal from the registry in the future.
It is important to recognize that removal from the registry is not automatic and the registration periods for each tier are only minimums. A petition must be approved in order to be removed from the sex offender registry under this law.
If you have more questions about SB-384 and how the new sex offender registry system will work, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.